the cups blog


Don Norman: When Security Gets in the Way

An exert from an essay Don Norman wrote after attending SOUPS and the NAS workshops this summer….

I recently attended two conferences on Usability, Security, and Privacy. The first, SOUPS (Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security), was held on the Google campus in Mountain View, California, the second at the National Academies building in Washington, DC. Google is a semi-restricted campus. People can freely wander about the campus, but most buildings are locked and openable only with the proper badge. Security guards were visibly present: polite and helpful, but always watching. Our meetings were held in a public auditorium that did not require authorization for entrance. But the room was in a secure building, and the toilets were within the secure space. How did the world’s security experts handle the situation? With a brick. The side door of the auditorium that led to the secure part of the building and the toilets was propped open with a brick. So much for key access, badges, and security guards.